“Yet few conflict experts believe this to be true. To them, it is clear that far more needs to be done by the UK to improve transparency surrounding civilian casualties from airstrikes. Its coalition partner the US has committed to such, so why not the UK?’
Air strikes have flattened cities across Syria and Iraq. Bodies are still being pulled from the ruins of Mosul, Iraq’s second city. Local morgues have reported to have received as many as 9,000 to date.
Mass graves are still being discovered in Raqqa, the former capital of Isil’s “caliphate” in central Syria, where victims of raids were dumped.
Lydia Wilson, research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for the Resolution of Intractable Conflict, said it is “absurd” to suggest only one civilian was killed while whole cities were reduced to rubble.
“I would ask how the RAF came at their numbers; that is, how they distinguish between fighters and civilians when buildings have collapsed on top of inhabitants, and on-the-ground, independent reporting is impossible,” she said.